ART pulls plug on FIFA-Cup coverage
Written by Chris Forrester
Tuesday, 30 March 2010 17:09

Arab Radio & Television (ART) is already planning its exit from the pay-TV market in its Middle East homeland. Now it has changed its mind regarding covering this summer's South Africa-based World Cup soccer tournament.

ART had previously said it would cover the games despite having sold the rights to Al Jazeera Sports Channels . ART had earlier said that its subscribers would still be able to view the games under a "rebroadcast agreement" it had negotiated with Al Jazeera.

There were signs that the agreement had broken down when ART failed to show some games from the Africa Cup competition played this past January. Al Jazeera showed the matches.

"Since that time, people here at ART felt uncomfortable with the way things might go with Al Jazeera in the future, especially with the World Cup," said Nawaf Tamimi, ART's public relations chief. "So, since that time, the promotion for the bouquet has stopped. We prepared a marketing and advertising campaign for the sport and entertainment channels, but after that experience, we stopped everything." Only about 10,000 subscribers in Saudi Arabia who bought World Cup packages through ART before the rights sale will have access to the matches on ART, Tamimi added.